Friday, 3 April 2015

My Mental Health Essentials

 
  • Medication - I take an anti-psychotic (Quetiapine) 750mg at night, an anti-depressant (Fluoxetine) 60mg in the morning, and then if I'm struggling with hallucinations or strange thoughts I can take 50mg Quetiapine, or if I'm feeling angry or anxious etc I can take up to 4mg Lorazepam (mild sedative). For so long, I was barely on any medication for my mental health and although I know it isn't the 'answer,' I'm in a better place when I take my medication and that allows me to engage in trauma therapy and other intense chats that benefit me and my mental health in the long-term.

  • Sleep - when I'm tired, it affects my mood so I sleep when I need to sleep. If my sleep routine isn't quite right e.g. I feel tired when I wake up or I'm struggling to get to sleep, then I do all I can to correct it and ensure my safety. Sleep is important at the best of times, never mind if you're struggling with your mental health. I, personally, find that a difficult period with my mental health e.g. lots of hallucinations or bad thoughts, can tire me out physically. Sometimes, putting on a brave face, or keeping something secure in a box in your head; can take physical energy. It gets tiring. Trying, gets tiring.

  • Blogging - I get so much from blogging; it keeps me motivated, cheers me up, makes me passionate, gives me confidence and helps me process my thoughts and clear my mind. I know that blogging isn't for everyone but I think that everyone has something that does all of these things for them. You just have to find it. Once you do, you'll know. Because you won't let it go.
 
  • Support network - I'd say that the main people in my life who support me during mental health struggles, are my Mum, my best-friend; Chelsea and my therapist who specialises in Personality Disorders and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. I think it's important to get some sort of 'balance' in your support network with 'professionals' and family and friends. As someone who has struggled to form relationships with professionals (polite way of putting it) I still recognise that they can be a massive source of support and can offer a different type of support to what your loved ones can. And this is the other aspect that I believe is important in forming a support network; each of your support network, should offer you something different. For example, my Mum is my voice of reason and has unconditional love for me. Chelsea is always on my 'side' and is the closest person to understanding how I feel. My therapist; knows the names of what is happening to me. She can tell me when I'm disassociating. She can tell me what the recommended coping strategies are. She can tell me how this one thing worked really well for another person... I also think that in having this balance and variety to my support network, it means each person is best in different situations. So, I'd go to Chelsea if I were struggling with feelings related to my trauma or wanting to self-harm; because she 'gets' that. I'd go to my Mum if it was a general low mood. I'd go to my therapist if I was unsafe or needed to understand something.
  • A responsibility - Having a responsibility for someone or something, forces you to be responsible for yourself. And your own safety. Having someone who is reliant upon you, makes it harder for you to be reliant on self-harm. It makes it harder for you to be selfish in prioritising suicide attempts above all else. It gives you a reason why being admitted to hospital isn't a feasible option. And if admitted to hospital anyway, it gives you motivation to be discharged as soon as possible. This is what I have found since getting my kitten; Dolly.
 
  • A safe base - Having a home which is all mine, owning all of my furniture, adding to my home to make it even more lovely with my own money... I now understand what they mean when they say 'a house is not a home until you make it one.' My little bungalow is my safe base. When I have a tricky therapy appointment, I come home. When I've had an amazing shopping trip, I come home. Whether my day has been mentally tiring, or amazing and exhilarating, it here that I make my home.